Friday, March 6, 2015

5 Tips creative home for childen

Now that my children are a little older, I find myself often looking back over the years of raising them as little children. In doing so, I can see clearly in my mind some key elements that really helped us survive that busy, crazy time of life.

Seven children in nine years is absolutely full on! When they were younger we didn't have much money and tried to keep our home and family lifestyle simple.

I thought I would share with you some of the most helpful and influential creative area's we established in our home for our children on a limited budget:

1. Create a space for books/have a personal library: Reading has always been important in our family. I have read to all of our children since they have been born. I still read to them now. I have always made the books available and reachable for them. Of course this always meant that I had books pulled out of book cases over and over and over but my children grew to love books.

I also established a 'silent reading' time slot in our daily routine where I would pile the children on the couch with books next to them and we would have some quiet time looking at pictures in the books. I also followed the same routine at night. Put children into bed and they could grab a pile of books to quietly look through before sleeping after we read to them. Often I would find them asleep surrounded by books.

2. Have a musical influence in your home: We have always had a music area in our home with a variety of musical instruments. I would purchase inexpensive toy musical instruments for the children when they were younger and we would dance and play and sing together.

We would play games that involved music and a favourite was being really noisy and then being really quiet. I also would play to them a variety of songs from different musical genres and would have fun learning about different beats.

Now I have six of my seven children who have learnt a musical instrument. We have had flute, trumpet, percussion, electric guitar and drums with one more child to still pick an instrument.

3. Have a dress up box for creative play: I have children who love to act and perform. Some of these talents were obvious from a very young age when I was constantly asked to watch performances so I created a box for dress up outfits for my children to be creative with.

To start with I would look around at second hand stores for dress up outfits and would often give them as gifts for birthday presents too. Not only did this help them develop talents but it also provided so many moments of laughter in our home. My kids are hilarious!

4. Have a collection of board games: If there is one activity that we enjoy doing in our home it is board games. We can be a little competitive at times but I find that playing board games helps to bring unity in our home. We have always had games and now that our children are a little older we have a lot more fun playing with them because we can expand on the type of games we play.

We often create teams as we are a large family and as parents would use that time to praise our children for the way they were playing a game. So much fun and teasing also goes on and it is hilarious to watch but also wonderful to see our older children helping and teaching our younger children to play a game.

5. Encourage art with a craft box/area: Much to my surprise, I have children who excel at art. I say surprise because I can't draw or paint or anything! But, I love it that my children can. So I would have a supply of art and craft materials available for them to be creative with. I would keep boxes, cling wrap rolls, scraps of paper and anything that could be used to create with and then let them go crazy with them.

I have always wanted the walls of my home to reflect our family and so have always made it a priority to display art work from our children. I love the bright designs they come up with and I think it also helps them feel special to see their art work on display and they love it when people who visit comment on it too.

It is a hard to write about just 5 tips that I found helpful but I have to say that these five ideas have made the most difference. I can see now that my children are a little older how this has influenced their life. At the time you often don't think it will make much difference but it really does.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

online tutoring yourtutor review

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One of the biggest challenges in my life right now, as a parent, is dealing with homework. With children in Years 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 12 - it is hectic, busy and crazy!

There is a desperate need for some extra help and tutoring just for us to keep up with the homework demands that need to be done each night in our home!

Most nights and afternoons, I am the only parent home, dealing with the homework demands of our family. It is a lot of pressure and with three of my children in high school it can be hard for me to even know what they are talking about!

Each school night we have readers that need to be done, other individual reading that needs to be checked off, worksheets, spelling words, times tables, projects, assignments, essays, artwork, music practice...the list goes on!

Over the years, we have had the children sit around the table in our study area alternating from younger child to older child so that they can help each other out. I then float around the table and give extra help and normally work on dinner at the same time. It has worked well for us.

This year however, things are a little different. My oldest daughter is doing Year 12 and wants to study in a little more peace! There is also a lot more pressure on her to do well with her school work.

After looking at several different options, we decided that getting some professional tutoring help, would make a big difference for our family. However, finding the time to hunt down someone that could come to our home and would be a good match for our family was not something I have extra time for right now!

So we decided to try online tutoring help with What a lifesaver it has been for us already so early on in the school year! Tutoring online has been fantastic for me and for the children.

We have found having another set of eyes, another opinion/voice and professional qualified help valuable in helping my children with their school assignments.

What a relief it has been for me some nights when I have had the desire to help my children but simply can't understand or know what to do to help them!

Best of all is available from 3pm - Midnight, six days a week.

So if my children have been up late working on an assignment and they still can't get it right - they simply pop online and get the help they need right away!

This is how YourTutor works:

1. You create an account - All accounts come with a free 30 minute no obligation trial to allow you to test out the site to see if it is going to work for you.

2. You get your homework ready. Have prepared any questions you might want to ask about your essay, assignment etc. You can upload your assignment before the session starts so that the tutor can read your work when you begin and give you feedback and help.

3. You select what homework year level and type of homework help you need and then connect online with a tutor selected to your needs. All core subjects from Year 3-12 are available. You can read more here: Online Tutoring Subjects. Your Tutor also offers help learning study skills and setting up a study routine.

4. You communicate in an online classroom setting through typed chat. You type in your questions and can also draw diagrams if needed. The reason for this is that it keeps students anonymous and also means you get a written transcript of the session at the end. Any visual information such as mathematical equations are worked on together, using the online whiteboard. See example below:

5. Your tutor works with your pace of learning, as slowly or as quickly as needed to work through the question. You only pay for the minutes you use, however you’ll never pay for more than 40 minutes in a session. This is because YourTutor are confident they can help you quickly!

6. At the end of the tutoring session you can have all of the communication notes sent to you in an email to refer to later on and so you don't have to try to remember all of the helpful tips given!

Our family has been using for the last couple of weeks and tested out the free hours available. We have found it extremely helpful. Here is what we loved as a family.

Seven Cherubs Review of YourTutor:

1. The connection to a tutor for help is fast, saving time and money.

2. The tutors helped our children discover the answers they were seeking themselves. They encouraged them to think and asked questions in return to guide them to the correct answer.

3. The tutors praised our children for the great work they had already done, especially with essays, helping them feel confident they were on the right track with their efforts.

4. The tutoring guidance was clear, precise and easy for my children to understand.

5. The whole process was very professional, organised and totally focused on schoolwork.

6. Having an email copy of the tutoring notes helped not only the child seeking the tutoring help but other members of our family.

7.  Online tutoring gave my children peace of mind and confidence to continue their school work. Each of my children have come away from smiling and relieved!

The YourTutor program has been around for more than 10 years, but has previously only been available through schools, local governments and selected libraries. Now families can have the opportunity to use the service in their own homes.

To celebrate the launch, are giving away 1 million free hours of tutoring to families all around the country. To have a look at the YourTutor site and to get your free tutoring hours click on this link: and give it a try.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Start small with 'baby step' health goals

The reason I started really, really small with my baby step health goals and plans was because mentally and emotionally I couldn't cope with anything more.

I tend to get discouraged if I can't see some type of result right away and I knew that by having a baby step plan that I could celebrate small victories on a regular basis to motivate me.

I needed my goals to be very simple so that I could believe and have hope that I could achieve them.

I was already struggling with the basic every day routine in my home and family life and the thought of adding extra difficult activities to help improve my health seemed too discouraging.

So I went small and gave myself the gift of time to achieve them.

Often we set these crazy big goals in life, set out full of enthusiasm to achieve them and fall short in the first couple of days.

Then we give up and never achieve them.

I knew I needed to take better care of my health and decided to start small and simple.

So I wrote out small baby step plans to help me get outside and to get moving.

Below is an example of some of my 'baby step' plans:

Plan 1:

1. Walk a lap in the back yard
2. Walk 20 laps in the back yard
3. Walk 50 laps in the back yard
4. Walk 100 laps in the back yard
5. Walk 1Km out of the house in public
6. Walk 3Km out of the house in public
7. Walk 5Km out of the house in public
8. Walk with a friend
9. Walk 10Km in one day
10. Try running in public (distance doesn’t matter)

Plan 2:

1. Run 100 m
2. Run 200 m
3. Run 300 m
4. Run 400 m
5. Run 500 m
6. Run 600 m
7. Run 700 m
8. Run 850 m
9. Run 1 Km
10. Run outside in public

Plan 3:

1. Get a blood test
2. Create a music playlist
3. Run 1.25 Km
4. Run 1.5 Km
5. Start the Couch to 5K App
5. Run 2 Km
6. Run 2.5 Km
7. Run 3 Km
8. Start the Whole30 eating plan
9. Run 3.5 Km
10. Run 5 Km

One of my favourite places to run - in the forest above!

As you can see my baby step plans are simple and pretty boring really!

I stayed focused on each goal and kept trying until I made it happen.

It is through being consistent and not giving up that I have been able to reach my goals.

Plus of course, the fact that I love ticking off items on my baby step plans!

I have found that by keeping my health goals simple and small that I have been able to find success.

I hope it inspires you to write out a few baby step plans...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

the hashtag game

I am so blessed to have all of these children in my home.
Some days I stand there and stare at them and can't believe they are all mine!

We have some hilarious conversations in our home.

Having three teenagers in my house means I get to have fun playing games with them that relate to technology that my younger children don't quite get yet.

One of the games we love to play is the #hashtag game.
Kind of a fun way to have a difficult conversation.

Normally in our house they happen late at night when we are laying in bed yelling from room to room. Which makes it way more funny than it normally is!

In case you don't know what a hashtag is: it is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash character (or number sign) #. A hashtag allows grouping of similarly tagged messages and also allows an electronic search to return all messages that contain it.

A hashtag is used a lot on twitter and more and more on facebook.
I am @sevencherubs on twitter by the way!

So in our house the hashtag game might play out like this:

Daughter: I need new shoes
Me: #dreaming
Daughter: #desperate #need
Me: You have enough. #blessed
Daughter: #sob #ifyouloveme
Me: #firstworldproblem
Daughter: #heels #fashion #cute
Me: #getajob

End of conversation!

Of course, we do have normal conversations in our home but I find with teenagers it is a fun way to lighten things up every so often.

We also love watching Jimmy Fallon and the hashtags that he shares on his show are hilarious.
We have had fun using some of his suggestions in our conversations.

My kids are very quick witted and it really comes out when we play the hashtag game.
So fun!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kitchen buffet Chalk Paint Makeover

There have been 2 items on my 'One Day I Want To Do List' for a long time:

1. Makeover and paint the kitchen buffet I have in my dining room and
2. Try Chalk Paint.

So recently, I finally found the time and energy to make both of those items listed above happen.

Together. At the Same Time. So excited!

All thanks to Katrina because I won a Chalk Paint giveaway on her blog!

So here is what my kitchen buffet looked like before:

It is a very dark colour and I have had it in my dining room like this for years.
I use it to store food on and it is very practical for my home.
You can check out how it fits in HERE.

In giving it a makeover, I was really attracted to trying out Chalk Paint because you don't have to sand back the wood at all, you simply paint right over it any colour you want!

So I decided to go for a big change and picked white because I love that look.

I found the Chalk Paint very easy to paint with and it dried very quickly. I gave my kitchen buffet about three coats because I really wanted to cover up the brown underneath.

I also added in a coat of a grey colour just around the edges and on the drawers to stand out when I sanded back the edges to roughen it up a little.

I am really happy with the way that it turned out. It was all a very easy process.

All I had to do using Chalk Paint was paint it!

I am still undecided on the drawers and will probably paint those white to match the rest of the buffet in the future.

Below is how it currently looks in my home:

I have been slowly adding extra furniture and decorations to my home as I go along and am pleased with the final product.

We have a smaller house at the moment and it helps me a lot to store as much food and extra kitchen supplies as I can in the buffet.

Thank you so much Katrina! Such a blessing for our home.